What are my objectives while studying this topic?

The heart is the central organ within the circulatory system. You will study the structure of the heart and the specialized cells that make up the tissues forming the heart. This will help you understand the function of the heart within the cardiac cycle. You will also study the composition of the blood and how its content is maintained in the circulatory system.

Why is this important?

Fitness and healthcare professionals measure and monitor heart function and the control of the blood flowing to and from the rest of the body by taking physiological measurements. These measurements assist professionals improve the well being and performance of an individual’s circulatory system as well as diagnosing cardiovascular diseases.

Can I get an introduction to this topic?

Yes, why not have a look at the following links:

Arteries and viens:

What will I be expected to be able to do after studying this topic?

You’ll be expected to:

  • Identify the major blood vessels of the heart

  • Describe the structure of the heart

  • Explain the passage of blood through the heart

  • Explain the role of the valves

What are the key words to learn and use for this topic?

Structure of the heart

  • Aorta

  • Vena cava

  • Pulmonary veins

  • Pulmonary arteries

  • Coronary arteries

  • Semi-lunar valves

  • Tricuspid valve

  • Bicuspid valve

  • Tendinous chords

  • Papillary muscle

  • Cardiac muscle

  • Septum

  • Pericardial membranes


Take a look at this link to get some more information on these key words:

Info and images on systems

How long will this topic take to study?

On average you’ll be looking at about three hours of taught time and independent study.

What are the main activities on this topic?


Take a look at the following links:

Anatomical diagrams taken from Gray’s Anatomy


Draw a life size outline of a person onto wallpaper. Use a variety of fresh and dried fruits to represent parts of the body. Explain your choices related to function, shape etc.


Build a system - location of organs (range available on site below) - drag and drop the correct organs into the right places on the body.


Work in groups. Use a variety of different text books to read about the structure of the heart, the major blood vessels of the heart and the passage of blood through the heart in its double circulatory ‘figure of eight’ loop. Discuss the merits of the different means of presentation of the information as well as the information contained in each of the texts. Present your findings back to the group.

Take a look at the following website:


Dissect a heart.

Points to note in dissection

  • Atria

  • Vetricles

  • Septum

  • Major blood vessels

  • Coronary arteries

  • Valves

  • Pericardial membranes

  • Cardiac muscle

Points to note in the cardiac muscle walls:

The variation in thickness of the width of the cardiac muscle walls.
It is useful to have a blue cord and a red cord that can be threaded through the chambers and valves and tied outside the heart to show the figure of eight loop of the double circulatory system). Work in pairs with one person dissecting and the other taking a sequence of photos this can be used for writing notes, presentations etc (role reversal is important).


Look at the following power point presentation of a heart dissection:

This website allows you to create your own revision aids but here is one about the cardiovascular system.

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